Noguchi nabs pole in Misano

Following his win at the Red Bull Ring, Japanese 18-year-old Haruki Noguchi arrived in Italy full of confidence and he translated that into pole position ahead of Cup leader Carlos Tatay and David Salvador.

Tatay could well clinch the title in this weekend’s single Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race but the 16-year-old Spaniard knows that he has to keep his cool. His nearest rival, fellow Spaniard Pedro Acosta, lost his cool after setting the quickest time in Free Practice. He was leading the early Qualifying but crashed on his fourth lap. The 15-year-old first year Rookie had his bike repaired and was out on track again but only qualified 9th with that third lap time on the KTM RC 250 R.

Win two
Noguchi had felt that win well overdue by the time he grabbed victory in Race 2 in Austria and has his eyes firmly set on a second win. “I am happy with pole and happy with the bike, the technical staff did a great job on the bike setting and it was very good in Qualifying. At first we were in a big group but I couldn’t get the lap I needed.”

“I found some space and did two low 46s and then finally two high 45s. It was not easy at all but I was not having to push over the limit. I think we are in good shape for the race,” he concluded.

Thinking too
Tatay knows what he has to do. “I don’t want to think too much about the championship. I know I should not do anything silly but I want to enjoy the race, we only come this way once. The bike is working great and I am happy with the work we did in Qualifying. It was good, not perfect because I am not on pole but I can be happy with that.”

Acosta pretty much has to win to keep his title hopes alive and is not too mad at himself. “I went out for a quick lap and I was fast, then in turn three I had a high-side. So again I am starting from the third line, I have done that before and as long as I get a good start that is OK. The bike is good after a long session with Santi (Suspension engineer Santiago Morralla). The bike was good for FP2 and Qualifying so it is working with old tyres and with new. I feel good about the race.”

And two more
Fellow Spaniard Salvador is equally keen to get into the race after qualifying third. “I am very happy with the way the day went. In FP1 I was not so comfortable on the bike, we improved it for FP2 and for Qualifying it was very good. Third is my best grid position and I think the race can be even better,” enthused the 15-year-old who was second in Assen 2.

It is not just the established front runners who will feature in the lead battle on Saturday. Joining them should be Mario Aji, the 15-year-old Indonesian who missed four races through visa problems. He took a huge step forward to qualify fifth. “I am so happy with that, a real big improvement for me, we changed the bike a lot, the suspension and I took the seat padding off so that I can move around more. I feel so much better on the KTM now and I am really looking forward to the race.”

Broadcast
This weekend’s Rookies Cup race can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world.

The race is on Saturday at 17:15 CET, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.